Shark attack: Drone-based research may help ease swimmers’ fears

Imagine you’re out swimming in the ocean on a gorgeous summer day and you suddenly spot a dark shape gliding past you in the water.

Your first concern might be that the creature was a shark, in which case, you’ll be wanting to exit the water pretty darn fast.

Chances are, however, that the unidentified swimming object was something else, according to new research out of Australia.

Southern Cross University professor Brendan Kelaher and his team used drone technology to monitor the waters close to beaches in New South Wales (NSW), analyzing footage to learn more about the various types of sea creatures that come close to the shore.

Working with Southern Cross University’s National Marine Science Centre and the NSW Department of Primary Industries over a period of three years, the research revealed an interesting statistic that should go some way to calming anxious swimmers who can’t seem to get Jaws out of their head whenever they take a dip.

“Our extensive data suggests it is up to 135 times more likely to be a dolphin than a shark,” Professor Kelaher said this week in an article published on his university’s website.

“We do see potentially dangerous sharks in the shallows, but our data show they are much less common than people would have you believe,” Kelaher said. But sounding a note of caution, the professor added that if you’re ever concerned about something you see while swimming, “it’s best to get out of the water.” If you need more reassurance, then check out these tips on how to avoid a shark attack.

Commenting on some of the stunning footage (above) used in the research, Kelaher said his team had been lucky enough to see “fevers of rays exceeding 100 animals, whales feeding on bait balls in the shallows, and incredible chases between sharks, rays, and dolphins.”

Drones for safety

Professor Kelaher was also keen to acknowledge the benefits of drone technology, explaining how it’s making “a valuable contribution to the ecological information required to ensure the long-term sustainability of beach ecosystems.”

Drones are also being used to help to keep bathers safe, with Australian officials increasing spending on the technology to provide lifeguards with a useful eye in the sky. Drone rescue systems that can drop flotation devices from the sky are also being deployed.

Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Home Theater

If you've got questions about Ultra HD Blu-ray, we've got answers

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are a killer way to beef up your home theater. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most significant advances to hit home entertainment in years.
Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
Outdoors

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.
Deals

Under Armour drops prices on Gore-Tex Jackets, Pants, and backpacks

The UA Outlet Exclusive sale is going on right now through Monday, February 18. During this time, you can get up to 40 percent off a huge range of outlet items, including Gore-Tex rain gear.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Deals

Keep your MacBook safe and dry with an Under Armour backpack for under $50

Under Armour is having a huge sale this weekend to help you on your quest for a better backpack. The UA Outlet Exclusive sale is going on now through Monday, February 18th, offering great discounts on stormproof backpacks.
Outdoors

The best heated gloves keep your hands toasty warm in all temperatures

When temperatures plunge, the first thing that gets cold are your fingers. Ward off frostbite and keep your digits toasty warm with these best heated gloves.
Outdoors

High-tech but low-key, these are the amazing materials inside your outdoor gear

We take a look at some of the materials that are used in the creation of our favorite outdoor gear, making our jackets, sleeping bags, tents, and other items warmer, drier, and more comfortable even in harsh weather conditions.
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Emerging Tech

‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

Japanese researchers have created a "guerrilla rainstorm" early-warning system aimed at preventing severe soakings, or worse. The team hopes to launch the system before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Health & Fitness

Nike’s Android app is bricking its $350 Adapt BB self-lacing shoes

A firmware update for Nike's new self-lacing Adapt BB shoe appears to be bricking the $350 footwear for some owners. Android users have said the Nike app no longer pairs with the shoe, rendering the tightening mechanism useless.